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Q: Butter versus Alcohol ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Butter versus Alcohol
Category: Health > Fitness and Nutrition
Asked by: markabe-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 17 Nov 2002 22:51 PST
Expires: 17 Dec 2002 22:51 PST
Question ID: 109707
I watched this TV show as I kid that had a scene that I still

An apprentice private investigator had to go to this bar and observe
the people he was with. They coaxed him into drinking lots of alcohol
so that he’d be too drunk to know what was going on.

Two minutes later he called up his boss, completely sober, to tell him
what happened, and explained that he had eaten a stick of butter so
that he could just pretend to be drunk while being completely sober.

Is there anything to this theory with the butter?
Subject: Re: Butter versus Alcohol
Answered By: sbmofo-ga on 21 Nov 2002 22:35 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hello, I hope this gives you a better idea of the biology behind your

    There is actally some scientific basis for the traditional remedy
of eating before a drinking binge.  There are 3 ways alcohol can be
metabolized (broken down)in your body, each depending on how much
alcohol you drink.  The first metabolic pathway is when you drink low
to moderate amounts of alcohol.  There are enzymes in your stomach
called gastric alcohol dehydrogenases which break alcohol down into
acetaldehyde and other forms of energy (alcohol is 7 cal/gram). 
Acetaldehyde has some poor side effects in large amounts that assist
in liver damage and hangovers, but it won’t affect your blood alcohol
level or make you drunk.  Men naturally have more of these enzymes
then women, hence their ability to handle more alcohol.  The idea of
eating food before you drink is to increase the amount of time the
alcohol is in your stomach so it can be broken down without leading to
drunkenness.  Eating fatty foods like butter causes your stomach to
further slow down it’s rate of emptying into your intestines.  This
gives the stomach enzymes even more time to break down the alcohol. 
Once the alcohol reaches your intestines, or you drink more than your
stomach enzymes can handle, it is absorbed into the blood leading to
drunkenness.  At this point, the other two metabolic pathways located
in your liver must take over the detox process. Remember the effect of
alcohol dehydrogenase varies with each individual, it isn’t effective
with binge drinking, and acetaldehyde can stil lead to liver damage in
large amounts.


A good refernce on how everything we eat and drink afects our bodies.

Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabollicm 3rd ed. by Gropper SS, and
Groff JL. Wadsworth Thomson Learning, 1999 pp 98-99
markabe-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
So it wasn't a load of crap after all. Well done to all.

Subject: Re: Butter versus Alcohol
From: pinkfreud-ga on 17 Nov 2002 23:01 PST
I haven't found any references to butter preventing intoxication when
alcohol is consumed, but I did find two mentions of butter or peanut
butter being eaten in advance of a drinking binge, to prevent a

I doubt that most people could swallow a batch of butter and then swig
a lot of liquor without vomiting. Maybe that's how the private
investigator stayed sober: he barfed all the booze away. ;-)
Subject: Re: Butter versus Alcohol
From: funkywizard-ga on 18 Nov 2002 00:10 PST
From a college lecture on alcohol use, they told us that having a good
amount of grease (or fat, or in this case butter) will slow down the
rate at which alcohol is absorbed into your body. you will still
absorb the same amount of alcohol, however, it will take longer for
you to get drunk. by eating the butter, he made it *more* likely, not
less, that he would be drunk after 2 hours, since by then the alcohol
would just about be done being absorbed by his body. This is in
contrast to starting with an empty stomach, where he would get really
drunk almost all at once, and then slowly work it off.  I forget the
actual statistics on this, but I hope this gives you an idea of what
you are asking about.

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